The Sons of Sam is a 2021 Netflix series about the Son of Sam murders in New York City in the 1970s.
10 out of 10 stars. This four episode documentary covers the work done by Maury Terry and his band of former cops, detectives, and even victims. He has compiled evidence from multiple sources that the eight attacks in New York City during the 1970s attributed to David Berkowitz were actually the product of several shooters, all members of a satanic cult called The Process Church of the Final Judgement (British spelling).
During the summer of 1977, New York City was rocked with a series of shootings that were all connected by the same size bullet, a .44 caliber bullet which at the time was a very large and uncommon bullet. The killer was dubbed the .44 Caliber Killer.
The 8 Attacks
1. On July 29, 1976, Donna Lauria and Jody Valenti are shot in their car which was parked in front of Lauria’s house.
2. On October 23, 1976, Carl Denaro and Rosemary Keenan are shot in their car.
3. On November 27, 1976, Donna DeMasi and Joanne Lamino are shot standing outside Lamino’s home.
4. On January 30, 1977, Christine Freund and John Diel are shot in their car.
5. On March 8, 1977, teenager Virginia Voskerichian was shot walking home from school.
6. On April 17, 1977, Valentina Suriani and Alexander Esau are shot in their car a block from her home. Following this killing, a newspaper reporter receives a letter from the killer identifying himself as the Son of Sam. That letter is printed in the Daily News.
7. On June 25, 1977, Judy Placido and Sal Lupo are shot in their car.
On July 22, 1977, the killer writes another letter and hints that he will shoot another couple on the anniversary of the first shooting, July 29.
On July 29, 1977, NYC cops are out in force, but nothing happens. No shootings.
8. On July 31, 1977, Stacy Moskowitz and Robert Violante are shot in their car.
In all 8 of the attacks, the bullets are .44 caliber and attributed to a Charter Arms Bulldog .44 caliber gun.
On August 9, 1977, a NYPD detective was charged with searching through all parking violations in the area of the last shooting. He came across a parking violation for a vehicle parked in front of the fire hydrant near that address. The car was registered to David Berkowitz from Yonkers. When the detective called the Yonkers PD, he spoke with a young woman named Wheat Carr, the sister of John and Michael Carr and the daughter of Sam Carr, who all lived behind Berkowitz’s apartment building. She knew Berkowitz and told the detective that he had shot her father Sam’s black labrador dog. That connected him to the Son of Sam moniker. NYPD cops break into Berkowitz’s car and find a .44 caliber gun in the back seat as well as a letter written by the Son of Sam in his glove compartment. When they go to arrest him, he tells them they caught the Son of Sam and he confesses.
Berkowitz was a 24 year old postal worker who lived alone and had no previous history of violence. Recently, he had discovered he was adopted and had searched out his birth mother. She rejected him. Detectives claimed during interviews he displayed hatred of women.
Enter Maury Terry
Maury Terry started out as a journalist for a small newspaper. In 1968, he covered the riots following the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinations and wrote a story. His paper refused to print it and instead printed lies saying the city was calm and peaceful. So he quit and went to work for IBM’s internal newsletter. He was bored.
During the thirteen months that the Son of Sam terrorized New York City, there had been several eyewitnesses to the shootings. The vehicles were different and the sketches of the shooters were different. Not just slightly different, but vastly different. A tall thin man with wiry blond hair. A shorter man with dark hair. A man with light brown hair and a narrow nose. So Maury Terry took those sketches and backtracked through the evidence.
Wheat Carr, the woman who had told the NYPD detective checking the parking violations all about Berkowitz was part of the Carr family. Sam Carr was an abusive man who beat everyone in his family. He locked his sons, John and Michael, in the closet as punishment. John’s name was John Wheat Carr. The Son of Sam letters included references to being locked in closets and “John Wheaties”. In fact there are several references in those Son of Sam letters that tie back to the Carr family. The eyewitness sketches look exactly like John Wheat Carr and Michael Carr.
One of the witnesses, Tommy Zaino, said it was not Berkowitz, that he didn’t even look like the shooter, which led Maury Terry to bring John Wheat Carr forward as a suspect to the NYPD. They had already closed the case and refused to listen. Then a former NYPD detective turned reporter named Jim Mettaeger went to visit Berkowitz and Berkowitz passed him a note saying there were several “sons” of sam killers.
Illegal Search and Seizure
Behind the scenes, the NYPD was panicking. Because they had illegally broken into Berkowitz’s car and all of their evidence was obtained illegally, it was inadmissible. If he retracted his confession, or if there were other killers, their case against him would fall apart. So they sped up the trial, convicted him, and sealed him up at Attica Prison without any visitors. Normally they cooperated with journalists and private investigators in showing the evidence they had. Not in this case.
When Maury began investigating the shootings himself, with John Wheat Carr as the primary suspect, he found that the Old Croton Aqueduct was near where Carr and Berkowitz lived and was actually a vast tunnel system under NYC. They’d found several dead dogs in the aqueduct, all mutilated, and a nearby building covered in satanic symbols and blood. This was probably where the dogs were ritually sacrificed. They also found several hoods and capes. The dogs were all German shepherds. This group was called The Children.
John Wheat Carr’s Murder
On February 11, 1978 there was a blizzard in NYC and Maury saw John Carr’s car appear. He’d been gone for months and suddenly he was home. But the very next day newspapers stated that John Carr was murdered in Minot, North Dakota. When Maury printed this in the Gannett newspaper where he was working at the time, the NYPD arrested Mittaeger for taking photos of Berkowitz in prison while he was sleeping. They wanted to take any notice away from Maury’s article.
Minot, North Dakota
Maury Terry goes to Minot, North Dakota to visit the site of John Carr’s murder and he finds something familiar–a satanic ritual site. Carr had apparently been living there before the Son of Sam murders and had commuted back and forth to Yonkers, NYC. People Maury interviewed who knew Carr said they had seen Berkowitz with Carr in Minot. And months before the first Son of Sam shooting, Carr had drawn the Son of Sam symbol in the area. Carr had told his doctor that someone was trying to kill him. He was known to have performed satanic rituals in the area with a group he led who ritually sacrificed German shepherds and drank their blood. They called themselves The Children.
For the many weeks that followed, the Minot police send reports to the NYPD on John Carr’s involvement in the Son of Sam shootings. The NYPD ignores them.
When Maury tries to get the NPYD to investigate, they ignore him. But the Queens District Attorney, a guy named Santucci, believes Maury and has always believed there was more than one shooter. He reopens the investigation into the Queens shootings by Son of Sam.
Michael Carr’s Murder
Then Michael Carr dies in a questionable car accident.
Michael Carr was a high level member of the Church of Scientology. He was also a drug addict. Within the Church of Scientology was another cult, the Process Church of the Final Judgement, which was formed by two Brits in 1963, Robert and Mary Ann DeGrimston. Michael joined this cult and began practicing satanic rituals. The DeGrimstons wanted to create mass chaos that would lead to the end of the world. But they especially wanted to wipe out the middle class. They collected German shepherds which they used for ritual sacrifice. Like John Carr, they drank the blood of the dogs they killed.
Does this sound familiar? It should. It was exactly what Charles Manson’s followers said after the Tate-LaBianca murders in California. And here’s where it gets even creepier. Charles Manson was also a member of the Process Church of the Final Judgment. He was friends with the DeGrimstons and formed his own offshoot group which he called The Family.
In 1974, Ed Sanders came out with a book, called The Family, which described Charles Manson’s “family” and their involvement with the Process Church. As a result of that publicity, the Process Church left California and reemerged in New York under the new name The Children.
Murder of Arlis Perry
After Michael Carr’s murder, Maury gets a letter from Berkowitz. He tells him that many killed the Son of Sam’s victims and that John Carr was one of the shooters. One of the Minot, North Dakota cops also gets a letter from Berkowitz and this letter comes with a book, The Anatomy of Witchcraft by John Haining. Written in the margins of the book it says, “Arlis Perry, hunted, stalked, and slain, followed to California, Stanford University.”
On October 13, 1974, the police near Standford University find a dead girl in the Memorial Church. The body is naked from the waist down and the girl was violated vaginally with a five foot long altar candle. She was 19 years old and from Bismarck, North Dakota. She was identified as Arlis Perry, a Christian girl who was most likely stalked by John Carr’s followers in the Process Church.
Santa Clara County police who are investigating Arlis’s murder go to New York City to see Berkowitz. He refuses to tell them anything, saying that they will kill his parents if he talks. He has a huge deep scar around his neck where someone has already tried killing him.
Snuff Film of Stacy Moskowitz’s Murder
A prison informant named “Vinny” writes a letter to the Gannett newspaper chain where Maury used to work. They forward the letter to Maury. Vinny gives a very detailed account of The Children cult’s operations and how Stacy Moskowitz’s murder was filmed by Ron Sisman as a snuff film for “RR”, a rich man in Southampton who likes snuff films. RR is Roy Radin, a millionaire in Southampton known for his sex orgies and drug parties.
On Halloween, 1981 in New York City, Ron Sisman and his date Elizabeth Platzman are both killed in Sisman’s apartment.
Roy Radin had a history with the police. He had beaten and raped Melonie Haller who escaped before he could kill her. He filmed the entire attack.
Radin is killed in California and his body dumped next to a tree with a bible in it. He was 33 years old. And it looks like the cult The Children is cleaning up loose ends to the Son of Sam murders.
The Ultimate Evil
In 1987, Maury releases his book The Ultimate Evil on the Son of Sam murders. He does the talk show circuit, but they spread Satanic panic across the country and no one takes him seriously.
In 1988, four people are arrested for Radin’s murder. All four of them are involved in drugs and a dispute with Radin over the huge loss they took in the film The Cotton Club.
In 1993, an NYPD detective befriends Berkowitz. Berkowitz had recently converted to Christianity and the two bond from talking religion. He contacts Maury and Maury asks him to set up a meeting with Berkowitz.
On September 23, 1993, that meeting takes place in the Sullivan Correctional Facility. What Berkowitz tells them is that when he came out of the army, he was lonely and so he hung out with other lonely people who soon started talking about witchcraft and black magic. Berkowitz took an oath to them to never betray or expose them. They threatened to kill his family if he ever did betray them. Then they started sacrificing animals which made him sick. He tells Maury he was at all 8 attacks, but he wasn’t the shooter at every attack. So Maury specifically asks him shooting by shooting, which ones were his.
- Donna Lauria in Bronx–>YES
- Carl Denaro and Rosemary Keenan in Queens–>No
- Joanne Lamino and Donna DeMasi–>No
- Christine Freund in Queens–>No
- Virginia Voskerichian in Queens–>No
- Valentina Suriani and Alex Esau in Bronx–>YES
- Judy Placido and Sal Lupo–>No
- Stacy Moskowitz and Robert Violante in Brooklyn–>No
Maury asks Berkowitz were John and Michael Carr part of this cult? Yes. Did they pull the trigger in one or more of these attacks? Yes. But regardless of how many times Maury asks, Berkowitz will not name the other shooters claiming the prisoners of Attica have a code he cannot break.
Inside Edition publishes the videotaped interview. Immediately afterward NYC cops smear Maury’s name in the tabloids. Particularly vicious is a NYC cop known for corruption, Joe Coffey.
Pine Street Irregulars
Maury realizes he needs help, so he begins collecting friends to help him with his research and investigation. He calls them the Pine Street Irregulars because they meet at a bar on Pine Street. One of these men is Carl Denaro, a victim in the second attack.
What they discover is that in Yonkers, New York at the time of the Son of Sam murders, a satanic cult called The Children was operating there. They were Berkowitz’s friends and seen in photos with him hanging out. These “friends” line up with the vehicles seen by witnesses at the shootings. For example, one of them owns a yellow VW beetle, which was seen at one of the shootings. Two days later, the owner of that yellow VW vehicle killed himself.
John Paul was once a member of the cult called The Children. The group contained 30 to 40 people and they regularly conducted rituals in which they killed dogs. They also created and sold child pornography and drugs. He tells them that Ron Sisman and Elizabeth Platzman were murdered over the snuff film of Stacy Moskowitz’s murder which is why Sisman’s house was torn apart.
Jesse Turner, an inmate at Talladega, Alabama prison, writes to Maury and tells him that he’s a member of the Process Church of the Final Judgment. He says Sisman and Platzman’s murders were for the snuff film of Moskowitz’s murder. So now they have three independent accounts saying the same thing.
Second Interview with David Berkowitz
Maury goes back for a second interview with Berkowtiz who really does not want to talk about the case anymore. He’s a converted Christian and has confessed his sins to Maury once. But Maury insists. So he agrees. Berkowitz confirms:
- Stacy Moskowitz’s murder was filmed by Ron Sisman
- Their group was part of the Process Church.
- The Process Church killed Arlis Perry.
- The Process Church is involved with child pornography and drugs.
Maury takes this evidence to the NYPD. They do nothing.
By 1988, Maury and his team have confirmed there were at least 5 different shooters in the Son of Sam case.
A second corrupt NYPD cop, Joe Borelli, makes sure the Son of Sam cases stay closed.
In 2010, Maury dies. He always suspected that Stephen Blake, the security guard at the Memorial Church in Stanford University who found Arlis Perry’s body, killed her because he was so unmoved by finding her tortured like that and on display so sexually graphic in a church. On June 28, 2018, police go to arrest Blake because of DNA that links him to her murder. He kills himself. The police find Maury’s book in his home.
10 out of 10 stars. It’s a shame that Maury Perry devoted his entire life to this case because it was clear that the NYPD weren’t going to do anything. But the facts are there.